2007-05-03 / Front Page

Old Jamestown Bridge project coming to an end

By Sam Bari

The old Jamestown Bridge, for the most part, will be a memory preserved in photographs, books, and historic archives in about five weeks. According to state Department of Transportation Deputy Chief Engineer Frank Corrao, the last of the landscaping will be completed by the middle of June.

"The project was one of those that are sent from heaven," Corrao said. "Everything went smoothly. We couldn't have asked for better. Cashman Equipment Company of Boston was terrific, as were their sub-contractors. Everyone worked together and they performed flawlessly. They did a very professional job. I couldn't be more pleased." He also said the job was on budget

and on time, despite the many challenges presented by inclement weather.

Project Superintendent John McNulty of Cashman Equipment, the general contractor hired by the state to dismantle and dispose of the bridge shared Corrao's sentiments. "I have to thank the state for being such wonderful clients," McNulty said. "Working for them was a pleasure."

"For me, I couldn't have asked for a better project," McNulty continued. "I grew up here and still live in Newport. I have fond memories of the old bridge from when I was a boy and visited the island with my family. I watched the bridge go up. It played an important role in area history. It was a nostalgic experience and a privilege to have been involved in putting the historic structure to rest. When I was a kid, I would never have dreamed that I'd be taking the bridge down," McNulty said.

He went on to say that "it wouldn't be right if I didn't thank our sub-contractors, DemTech, the blasting experts from Dubois, Wyo., and the Fay Company of Pittsburgh. This was a union job and every one of those guys are consummate professionals. And I thank them all. Specifically, I have to give a special thanks to Scott Gustafson, the DemTech blaster, and Steve Langeluttig, the Fay Company's project superintendent. They are the best of the best and they made my job a lot easier."

McNulty also thanked the State Troopers and the Jamestown and North Kingstown Police and Fire Departments for their expertise in making the bridge closings smooth and safe. "Without their help it would have been much more difficult than it was. And I can't leave without thanking the residents of Jamestown and North Kingstown for their patience and cooperation," he said.

Cashman Project Engineer Patrick O'Malley said that they still had to remove concrete from piers 1 and 2 east. He said they have about two or three more trips to the reef before the salvaging will be complete. "After that, we have to sweep the site and finish the landscaping on the Jamestown side," he said.

He went on to say that they were installing curbing and guardrails and removing the fencing on Route 138. "Our last task will be to lay topsoil and grass seeding in the old bridge area and put new stone on the access road to the pond for the fire department," O'Malley said. "We're also laying new stone in the area under the new bridge by the beach," he added.

All that physically remains of the Old Jamestown Bridge is a few feet of crumbling roadway jutting into Narragansett Bay from the North Kingstown side. Decisions have to be made for its future.

Whether it will be rebuilt to current codes and used as a fishing pier, or dismantled and join the rest of the bridge as an artificial reef at the bottom of the ocean are questions yet to be answered.

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